May 8, 2004
Miss Jackie has woman's touch
By TJ MADIGAN - CALGARY SUN
The winner, and the new cruiserweight champion of the world... Jacqueline? There must have been some glue-sniffing going on at WWE headquarters this week, because you read it right -- the original Miss Jackie, whose gravity-defying chest alone probably weighs more than most cruiserweights, beat Chavo Guerrero Jr. on Smackdown to become the first female in WWE history to take home the cruiserweight crown.
When Guerrero issued an open challenge last week, the original plan was for Matt Cappotelli, the 24-year old co-winner of Tough Enough 3, to be the mystery opponent.
Cappotelli has been honing his skills at the WWE's Ohio Valley Wrestling training territory since he signed on the dotted line after Tough Enough wrapped in early 2003. He has also been getting ring time in front of full-size crowds, wrestling at non-televised house shows and in dark matches before the cameras roll on Raw and Smackdown each week.
It was during one of these off-TV practice runs, a house show in Oklahoma just days before his big TV debut, that Cappotelli suffered a concussion in a match with Bob Holly.
The injury was accidental -- unlike the incident on Tough Enough a year earlier, when a pathetic Holly showed his true colours by attacking Cappotelli for real during a training match -- but the concussion was serious enough to sideline Cappotelli.
This left a hole in the plans for this week's Smackdown, which was taped Tuesday in Tucson, Az. to air in prime time Thursday night.
Guerrero had issued the challenge the previous week, but only to wrestlers he had never faced before. With the current cruiserweight roster about as deep as a Backstreet Boys song, finding a first-time opponent was going to be a challenge in itself.
Ideas were thrown around at weekend booking meetings and head writer Stephanie McMahon made the surprise decision to give the Smackdown spot to a pint-sized diva instead of a male superstar.
Jacqueline, a legitimate martial arts expert, has been lobbying to fight men for a long time but has been mostly relegated to refereeing duties on Sunday Night Heat.
But now, as the champion of the sub-200-lb. weight class, Jackie is living it up in the spotlight, heading into a series of entertaining inter-gender angles with Guerrero.
The entire cruiserweight division has been lost in the shuffle since Wrestlemania, and this storyline is unlikely to change that, but Jacqueline is a competent worker and it should make for a fun diversion to buy some time until Cappotelli is cleared to wrestle.
- - -
ACC TO HOST: SummerSlam 2004 is coming to Toronto. Jim Ross and Vince McMahon will be hosting a press conference in Air Canada Centre June 1 to announce the second-biggest pay-per-view on the wrestling calendar will be coming to the T-Dot. The event, which is expected to be headlined by Chris Benoit vs. Triple H, will go down Aug. 15 at ACC.
- - -
DREAMER'S DONE: After Lance Storm's surprise retirement last month, Tommy Dreamer has also decided to drop his active career in favour of a managerial position. On Thursday's edition of WWE's internet-only talk show, Byte This, Dreamer announced he won't be renewing his wrestling contract when it expires in July. Instead, the former ECW mainstay will be moving to a behind-the-scenes or announcing position in the company.
- - -
LINEUP RELEASED: The line-up for Bad Blood has been released early in local advertising in the Ohio market, to enhance ticket sales for the pay-per-view. The main event will be a Hell in the Cell match between Triple H and Shawn Michaels, with Chris Benoit expected to defend the WWE championship in the semi-main against Kane. Bad Blood, a Raw-brand PPV, will take place June 13 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus.